Bayswater: Autumn River Festival faces funding cut

Market stalls at last year’s Autumn River Festival.
Market stalls at last year’s Autumn River Festival.

ONE of the City of Bayswater’s flagship festivals on the events calendar has had its funding slashed in half.

The annual Autumn River Festival held at Riverside Gardens in Bayswater has been a regional festival in conjunction with the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Councils’ Perth Autumn Festival program for decades.

This year, the City has allocated $26,000 for the festival, as it failed to receive a $20,000 Lotterywest grant.

Last year, the budget was $50,000 with Lotterywest’s support and the festival had carnival rides, children’s entertainment, a movie, family roving entertainment, a DJ and market stalls.

According to an officer’s report, there would be a reduction in the amount of carnival rides, entertainment and marquees.

“The timeframe for grant application submissions has changed from three months prior to the event to approximately five months prior to the event or three months prior to promotion of the event,” the report stated.

“Lotterywest also informed how their new board members are considering the assessment of all applications received, including those by local governments.

“If grants have already been issued to a local government for specific activities within a financial year, these are taken into consideration if the local government further applies for grants within that financial year.

“Furthermore, Lotterywest are now also taking into consideration grants issued to other groups situated within that local government area.”

The council noted the funding cut as per the officer’s recommendation at last month’s council meeting.

Cr Catherine Ehrhardt, who voted against the officer’s recommendation, said in 2014 had a budget of about $120,000.

“(With) $50,000 we still pulled off a pretty good event,” she said.

“It is an event that is well-loved and something that the City is known for.

“To slash that budget in half again, it is really disappointing that Lotterywest for whatever reason won’t be supporting it this year.”

The festival will feature carnival rides, live entertainment, market stalls, food vendors, a performance by the West Australian Symphonic Wind Ensemble and giveaways.

It will be held on April 6, from 2pm to 7pm at Riverside Gardens.